Do you feel pain in neck while sitting for long hours at your work desk? Researchers have proved that long hours of uninterrupted sitting can lead to a number of health complications.
This growing concern has pushed many corporate offices to opt for a standing work desk or make changes to the employee working schedule by organizing ergonomic sessions, stressing the importance of right sitting posture and regular exercise.
Sitting for more than eight hours can lead to postural problems like disc damage, strained neck and swayed back in long run. Many corporate employees who work in sitting position for long hours complain of these postural problems. Sitting in upright position without crouching forward and taking a 5-minute stroll every hour can minimize the risk. Out of the many patients, I see suffering from postural problems, nearly half of them constitute the corporate sector employees.
Dr. Naveenchand Dambekodi, Consultant Orthopaedic and Joint Replacement Surgeon, Columbia Asia Hospital, Hebbal shares some of the sitting health hazards:
- Cardiovascular complications – Sitting for long working hours leads to high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol which can increase the risk of cardiovascular complications
- Increases risk of diabetes- When a person sits for long hours, cells in the body muscles do not readily respond to insulin produced by pancreas. As a result, pancreas produces more insulin which can lead to diabetes
- Risk of muscle degeneration- Sedentary lifestyle can lead to a person developing hyperlordosis, tight hips, and lump glutes.
- Leg disorders- Long hour sitting can impact the blood flow in body causing fluid to puddle in legs. This can lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Increases stress level- Muscles in motion trigger the release of mood-enhancing hormones by supplying fresh blood and oxygen through the brain. Therefore, when a person sits for long hours the stress level increases.
- Imbalances in spinal structure- Long hours sitting can lead to imbalances in spinal structure including disc damage, inflexible spine, strained neck, sore shoulders and back
When a person complains of postural problems, a confirmation is done by an X-ray or MRI scan. Appropriate exercises are suggested to correct the damage. Patients are also recommended to undergo physiotherapy sessions if required.
To avoid health hazards associated with sedentary lifestyle, make sure you follow these simple exercises:
- Perform Yoga: Performing yoga in the evening or morning hours can be beneficial
- Regular stroll: Take a 5-minute stroll for every hour you sit. Instead of walking at a stretch, make sure that you take small breaks out of your work. This will improve blood circulation in the body
- Body stretching: Stretch your legs and arms every hour in office. When you are at home, stretch hip flexors every evening/morning for 5 minutes per side
- Follow right sitting posture: While sitting, make sure you sit in upright position without crouching. Ensure that you get good back rest with feet flat on floor
- Neck exercise: Sit straight and drop head slowly to one side, taking ear toward the shoulder. Make sure that you feel the stretch. Perform this daily for 5 minutes